The world’s high profile and top earning companies are not immune to the everyday challenges that the rest of the business realm experiences. They too can suffer a hard time maintaining highly talented employees; even the cream of the crop in the most senior positions can end up leaving their office with a view, and 7+ figure annual salary.
So why do the best and brightest walk out the door despite having been courted by their organisation and paid huge sums of money? Basically they leave for the same reasons as everyone else – poor people management and a lack of inspiration.
Five reasons top talent heads for the door
Forbes.com lists the top reasons why large companies lose their top talent as:
- Big company bureaucracy – Being told to follow the rules that make no sense leaves employees (even senior ones) with a feeling that they lack input.
- Failing to find a project that ignites the passion of their talent – Top talent isn’t driven by money and power, but by the opportunity to be a part of something huge, that will change the world, and for which they are really passionate. Failing to ask top employees if they’re enjoying their current projects can mean those employees become disenfranchised and then decide to move on.
- Poor annual performance reviews – A rushed review leaves the impression that the boss really isn’t interested in the employee’s long-term future with the company.
- No discussion around career development – Go-getters want to have discussions with their leaders about their career paths. However, most managers never engage with their employees about where they see their careers heading.
- Shifting whims – Top talent hates to be ‘jerked around’. If you commit to a project that they will be heading up, you’ve got to give them enough opportunity to deliver what they’ve promised.
Banish the bureaucracy
The number one reason why top talent jumps ship, is not surprising. As a company culture coach (and earlier in my career in the corporate world), I have seen (and experienced firsthand) businesses driven by Container Managers. Container Managers thrive in their environment by creating boundaries and setting clear-cut procedures to communicate “how things must be done”.
While it is important to set boundaries, often this culture becomes so dominant that employees lose sight of the outcomes and the possibilities of growth and innovation because they are so focused on the process and “getting things done” on time and to budget. Think about how this would make you feel day after day. Bored? Uninspired?
A waste of your skills and talent?
On the flipside, organisations that breed Expander Leaders develop a culture of growth, autonomy, and uniqueness. They focus on the possibilities rather than on the action of getting things done “the right way”. Their employees feel inspired, motivated, and able to contribute creatively to the growth of the business.
Engage your staff and retain your talent
What does this mean for you and your organisation? Retaining highly skilled and talented staff boils down to workplace culture. Work at a distance from your staff and be prepared to lose a few people in the process. Engage your people, allow them to use their experience and talents to create and innovate within your organisation and you will not only tap into their personal UQ Power, you will harness and retain your most valuable asset.
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